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Everything posted by dkurtenbach

  1. What you are suggesting is (1) holding Scouts back from advancing to Second Class and First Class even if they have the desire and the dedication to do so; (2) lock-step advancement for new Scouts rather than letting them each advance at their own pace; and (3) holding them back from learning advanced skills in specific areas that are at the Second Class and First Class levels.
  2. You could take that bottom cartoon and change the setting from indoors to outdoors, and you'd have a modern Scout campout or summer camp.
  3. Great resource! Offers a specific goal to work toward, ideas on what to do, and recognition for the effort. For example (from the website) -- ------- Here are sample project ideas: Personal Dimension Host a holiday party for children of prison inmates. Collect books and magazines for inner-city schools. Conduct entertainment programs, including skits and plays, at a nursing home. Make and donate gift boxes to be distributed by Feed the Children. Assist organizations that provide home maintenance services for those in need. Clean a Habitat for H
  4. Curving back a bit toward the original topic, I was taught that one of the Patrol Leader's jobs is to monitor the advancement of each Scout in the patrol so that a Scout having some difficulty will get help, and so that Scouts get credit for what they know and can do. This a responsibility that would probably fall to the Troop Guide in a New Scout Patrol. It could be very challenging with a bunch of boys working on Scout, Tenderfoot, Second Class, and First Class, plus merit badges, all at the same time.
  5. How about things like: No sitting during skills training All skills taught by skilled Scout instructors (though the instructors can be trained by adults if necessary) An instructor cannot train more than two Scouts at a time - no group instruction No note taking Instructors and Scouts should always have some relevant gear or item in their hands (piece of rope, knife or axe, bandages, map, compass, fry pan, etc.) At a closing gathering at the end of the campout, event, or meeting where requirements are completed, the Scout instructor calls out Scouts that pas
  6. The New Scout Patrol is supposed to be an interim step. So you need to ask: What comes after? What do the troop's "regular" patrols look like? How does the interim step help Scouts prepare for the troop's "regular" patrols, and how does the New Scout Patrol help the troop's "regular" patrol system? How do you integrate the new Scouts into the "regular" patrols at the end of the separation period? Is that integration after the separation period easier because you have had that interim step? And you also have to ask: Does the New Scout Patrol really have anything to do with the troop
  7. So very, very true. So much of Scouting today -- rank requirements and merit badges -- is presented in school format. A large part of that is due to how requirements are written. It is wrong, it is sad, and it is one of the reasons that Scouting is dying.
  8. $375,000 in operating costs spread over four camps with structures, facilities, equipment, and program seems like a bargain, unless that $375,000 is actually an overall deficit (expenses greater than camp revenue) from camp operations. If that is a deficit, then in a council with 9,000 girls, that is nearly $42 per member that has to be raised every year to cover the excess camp expenses. Assuming only a fraction of those girls actually go to camp, user fees for the camps would have to go up significantly to break even. But that deficit (if that is what the $375,000 is) could be significant
  9. I sort of agree with this part, in this sense: BSA leadership broke the program when they took the notion that it is a "character" program to extremes that drove people away.[fn.1] This overt spotlight on character -- which narrowed in meaning to "values" and "morality" -- put too much weight on one part of a well-balanced design. This self-importance (cultish? maybe) expanded to Scouting also being about leadership development.[fn.2] They neglected other key parts of Scouting, like the Patrol System. They neglected Scoutcraft and developments in environmental science and knowledge, allowing
  10. Well, I guess I look at it a bit differently. If we have a program that really can change the world for the better, then we have an obligation to get as many people into it as we can. If it isn't growing, that means one of two things: Either the program isn't that great after all, or the stewards and guides of the program over the years broke it. We can't blame the evolution of society for membership decline. The job of stewards and guides is to maintain the fundamental operating principles of the program while keeping it current and relevant to the changing needs and preferences of our t
  11. The shape of any merger or other reorganization will depend in large part on the shape of the eventual bankruptcy settlement: Will sexual abuse victims agree to a comprehensive resolution process that brings in all claims against councils, chartered organizations, and other Scouting-related entities in addition to claims against BSA National? To get there will require substantial financial contributions from councils. If they can't get there, BSA National's bankruptcy may be resolved (eventually), but victims will be in litigation with councils and other entities for years to come, with num
  12. I strongly agree with @ParkMan's concerns. For me, what is troubling about councils is that they spend the majority of their time, effort, and money in activities and services that units don't need (and often don't even know about) or would get anyway without all the fuss. Now, there are a few services that, in my view, some BSA office or BSA professional must be responsible for, even if much of the work is done by volunteers: administration of registration, chartering, and other "official record" matters dissemination, implementation, and enforcement of BSA policies specia
  13. Do your hikes go through a local park? Or do you drive by one on the way out? Scouts picking up trash for fifteen minutes as an add-on to an already-planned activity. It can make a difference.
  14. “The Boy Scout movement merits the unstinted support of every American who wants to make his country and his world a better place in which to live.” -- General Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1946, as quoted on page 10 of BSA's Informational Brief. BSA's "Informational Brief" (Document 4) filed in the BSA's bankruptcy case is intended to detail background information about the BSA organization, the sexual abuse lawsuits, and the BSA's intent and plan in filing bankruptcy. The following quote from page 15 of that Brief is pertinent to this topic: Scouts BSA. After Cub Scouts, yout
  15. The premise of a council merger is that the standard council organizational structure and "business lines" (types of activities and programs conducted by councils) are all necessary. It is just that for whatever reason (declining membership, declining revenue, declining donations, debt), the structure and business lines have become financially unsustainable in one or more of the merging councils. Through the merger, the organizational structure and business lines will be preserved, but economies of scale and cutting specific excess or burdensome elements within business lines (such as an ass
  16. The primary motivation for a merger is going to be financial: cut costs by combining programs and services then eliminating excess positions and duplicate programs. It just seems unrealistic to think that, where councils merge because of money problems, the merged council would decide to spend more money on district executives. Even where there is general agreement that more unit service is needed, in a financially-based merger the response is likely to be, "Get more commissioners - they're free!"
  17. I can see how merging councils can result in financially stronger entities. I don't see how merging councils can result in better unit service.
  18. The shorter the better! The fewer things we actually need councils and council employees for, the more room there is for units and volunteers to run Scouting from the bottom up with a focus on unit Scouting and the local community. I'd add: Councils: implementation and enforcement of BSA policies management of legal, insurance, and claims matters involving Scouting units, members, and activities specialized training for all units on year-round member recruitment, Webelos/AoL transition to ScoutsBSA, and care and feeding of members and families to improve retention
  19. Great idea, but I'd suggest that "most effectively" become a second level of the analysis because it is more subjective - a judgment call that could vary from council to council. That may be perfectly appropriate because circumstances can differ wildly from council to council. But we might want to have a nationwide baseline that says, "Here are the things that only a council can do. Here are the things that only council employees can do." Then we can ask what other things are most effectively performed by councils and council employees, until we reach a tipping point where the disadvantage
  20. What can individual Scout units do right now to significantly increase their visibility and show that Scouts and Scouting make our country and our communities better? I'm asking what new and additional things units can do, beyond Eagle projects and annual service events like Scouting for Food. What real and visible concrete actions and results, carried out regularly and frequently by units, can build good feeling in the community and demonstrate that Scouts and Scouting are worth keeping? I'd like responses to focus on the ScoutsBSA program, because much of what troops do takes place out in
  21. It seems as though all of the issues and discussion about councils can be reduced to this: What services essential to carrying out the Scouting program can only be performed by councils? Which of those essential services that can only be performed by councils, if any, can only be performed by paid council employees?
  22. And that gets us back to the core issue of this thread: positive council changes in a time (two to five years, or more) when the financial future of the National BSA organization and of many councils is being litigated. What are council priorities and how could they or should they be adjusted in a reorganization driven by potentially large council financial contributions to a child abuse settlement trust? More precisely, what activities are councils spending money and staff resources on that could be cut without a significant impact on local unit programs? I think expenditures on the follo
  23. We're probably thinking too hard if we're trying to figure out what district executives should be doing versus what they shouldn't be doing. The DE's job is to do whatever the council needs done. That means that DEs spend a lot of time trying to get the district volunteers on track doing their jobs, and fill critical gaps in district operations and activities wherever they appear. And other duties as assigned, which include support for council activities and events and operations wherever bodies are needed. The key point is that district executives exist because district volunteers a
  24. Last week, I posted about a hypothetical, alternate Scouting universe along these lines in the District Changes thread:
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